(Joyful Mysteries note: my beautiful friend Rachel sent me her real this morning. She is so much stronger than she knows. And I am so grateful that she sought out healing. Her Faith inspires me, and I adore her. Our lives have paralleled in so many ways and I am thankful to have a sister in Christ through her. She has asked for no advice on this post, just love and prayer. Thank you my dear Rachel for sharing your words.)

1:40 “If You will to do so, You can Heal me.”

Last week at Sunday mass this was the gospel reading. I try to listen to the readings, but I usually have someone wanting me to hold them, or one crawling down the pew to me from dad, but this week this reading got me in the gut. Lord if you will, You can HEAL Me! I almost started to break down and cry right there. I knew in my heart that this would be my prayer throughout this lenten season.
I want to give you a background on the last couple of years. In November of 2010 we moved into our house that we had built with our own sweat on our two acres of land. During that time of building, our marriage suffered the most it has ever suffered. We fought every day. I had fallen in love with the town of Prosser where we were renting and did not want to move into our new house. My husband, while trying to understand, had put his sweat and blood into this house. There were many hours every night spent on fighting and not getting anywhere. But we moved into our house and I tried my best to make it home for our family.
On April 1, 2011 I gave birth to a beautiful little baby boy at 17 weeks. I remember my husband was on spring break and we were so excited to go into an appointment together. I put on a pretty pink shirt and a nice skirt and did my makeup and hair. When the doctor came in he used the Doppler to find the heartbeat and he could not find it. I remember Him telling me not to worry and that we would find it in the ultrasound, but I knew. He went out to schedule an ultrasound and I looked at Corey and my look and tears said it all. The ultrasound confirmed that our baby had died, and then the words came that I dreaded to my core. I would need to deliver him. The next day we checked into the hospital and they put us in a birthing room where the walls and curtains are all bright colors, the baby bed is in there with a baby hat and blanket waiting for your living baby to be born. People would come in to draw blood and what not and ask what we were having, and I would have to say my baby died. It took three days of pain, tears and agony for our beautiful Joseph Pio Gerard to be born and he was perfect. We got to have him in our bed for the night and we kissed him and sang to him all night. The funeral home came for him the next day and a piece of my heart left that day with Him.
I did what I do best and buried all of that pain and memories. I am the Queen of pushing things down and not worrying (so I think) or thinking about them and deciding (trying) to move on.
In June we found out we were expecting again, and I had the most difficult pregnancy ever, with visits into the doctor every week for non-stress tests because my little guy had a very low heart rate. His birth was very, very difficult with it almost ending in an emergency C-section, but he was born and was perfect on March 10, 2012. A couple days later his blood was drawn showing he had extremely high levels of jaundice and was admitted right away to the hospital. If their levels reach a certain number they need a blood transfusion. It was very scary, and he was strictly limited to a billi bed with lights on him 24-7. I developed extremely painful mastitis because I was not allowed to nurse him for a few days. Finally we were discharged and then came a week with him on a billi bed at home. I was only allowed to hold him when I nursed him, so my nursing became extra-long. His blood was drawn twice a day and then we would anxiously wait to hear what his levels were for the day. I’ll never forget the day they told me he was ready to come off the lights, and I packed up all the nurses equipment in 5 minutes flat and bade them farewell.
It was during this time that my husband had been working on his National Board Certification and was due to submit his very large portfolio a few days after we arrived home from the hospital. He frantically put everything together while taking care of all of our kids while I was in the hospital with our baby. He did not pass his boards that year.

Fast forward to December, it was our year to go home to New Mexico to visit my family for Christmas. It was one of those trips where all of our kids got the flu one after another, we spent many hours in urgent care and trips to get prescriptions. My husband Corey had to fly home early to go back to work, and the kids and I had planned to stay down there for a month since I was homeschooling at the time. About 4 pm I got a from Corey saying he did not feel well at all. He was running on the track and his head started spinning and he couldn’t run in a straight line. He told me that something was not right. He drove himself to the ER and crawled through the doors. He was vomiting nonstop and the room would not stop spinning. I called my father in law and asked him to go to the hospital to be with Corey. Originally they told him he had the flu, but thankfully one doctor had the wisdom to run an MRI with dye and right away it showed he had had a stroke. They put him in an ambulance and sent him to Swedish hospital in Seattle. I called Southwest airlines right away and asked them to change our tickets to fly out the next day. It was going to cost us an obscene amount of money to change our tickets. I was uncontrollably sobbing and the lady must have understood that I was not making this up, she started to ask which hospital Corey was in to make sure this was not a hoax, but quickly decided to fly us all back for no extra charge.

God is Good.

The plane rides took an eternity. The stewardesses asking me to turn my cell phone off felt so wrong. What if my husband died? What if his brain started swelling? What if he needed to talk to me? (he couldn’t speak, but I didn’t know that) We arrived at the hospital and was told he was in the ICU. I did not allow my younger kids to see him because I didn’t know what to expect. I walked in to his room and he repeatedly continued to tell me, “Don’t Touch Me.” He was on so many meds, could not open his eyes, his head was wrapped and he didn’t recognize the kids or I. My mom took my kids home to our house, and for the next week I slept on a couch beside him with our baby that I nursed 24/7 so he wouldn’t make a peep. The next week was a blur of good news and bad news. I remember going down into the chapel and screaming and begging God to heal my husband. I told him I NEEDED him and He better not take him away from me. I told him, not to think about me, but about our kids. How could they live without their dad? Hundreds of people were praying for us and I felt surrounded by Grace. His recovery was nothing but a miracle.
The next 6 months he did not work. We lived off of nothing, and God’s grace was my strength to take care of my kids and my husband. He started back to work and once again his National Board Portfolio was due to turn in. He did not pass that year because of his recovery and his brain not being able to handle that stress.
The next months were ups and downs. Corey was recovering remarkably well, but still had so much fatigue and anxiety.
We decided to put our children in school for the first time. I could not do it all and thought it would be a very good positive change for them. They have been in school for almost 2 years now and they loved it. They have so many friends and I love watching them jump off the bus with their friends giggling and laughing.
We sold our house in June 2014 and moved back to Prosser. We bought our dream house for a price that was way below what the sellers were asking. It was nothing but a MIRACLE.
Corey PASSED his National Boards in November and I screamed and ran around the house for over an hour. When countless tragedies happen, the blessings are so much BIGGER. He had also been accepted to UW for a Special Education Director degree but the stress and workload of the program was just too much so he had to drop out of that program. That was extremely hard for me to accept, because I keep waiting for our break where we won’t have to make it paycheck to paycheck. During that time Corey’s car was stolen in Seattle and was not found for several weeks. We had to go through the process of finding another car and we did.
By this point I started feeling so numb, and just kept anxiously waiting for the next bad thing to happen.

It was around this time that I started reading this blog every day. I looked forward to reading it, it took me out of my own world for a few minutes. I remember reading the blog about her telling about her dark night of the soul and being diagnosed with PTSD. It was like it was a story about me. I hadn’t prayed in months, I was depressed and my anxiety was getting out of control. I had experience my first Panic attack at mass where my legs turned to jello, I was clammy and the room was spinning. All I knew was I had to get home, and when I did I was exhausted. It was getting to a point where I was not sleeping and I was at my breaking point. On top of that, I was not taking care of myself physically. I was not eating right at all. I was snapping at my husband and kids way too often. I had lost hope in life getting any better and could not find my way out of the fog. I talked with Kristin and told her I needed help but I didn’t know where to turn. Making the first step felt so overwhelming and exhausting for me but with her help I made an appointment with a therapist. I balled the entire first session. She recommended me seeing a doctor as well to get on some anxiety medication. That was another huge step for me. I was so scared of a doctor looking at me with judgmental eyes, but again God gave me the gentlest compassionate doctor I could have asked for. I don’t have a doctor of my own, because I don’t have medical insurance, so I asked God that when I call, he set me up with the right one and He did.

I have been on my medicine for 3 weeks, I have had 3 therapy sessions, I have cried rivers, but to all that are reading this I have to say, there is HOPE and HEALING when you are REAL and when your realize that getting help means YOU ARE COURAGEOUS.

I am making myself come out of isolation. I am making myself pray and read books to help me. I am surrounding myself with relationships that are real and positive and with people I know genuinely love me. Yesterday on my way to therapy, I received a text from a dear friend I had not heard from in a long time. She told me she was just thinking of me and was missing me. As I looked up from my phone, there is a huge rainbow in the sky. That rainbow was for me. I have sought out a support system of friends that I Iove and trust. One of them told me the other day that during lent, she was going to go to battle for me. She was going to be praying and offering things up for me. I cried tears of gratitude. This will be a long road for me, but I’ve had more Hope in the last few weeks than I have had in a very long time. I will push the thoughts of doubt out, that I’m a hopeless mess out, and I will not give up. I am blessed with a loving husband, 7 beautiful children (2 are in heaven), and with real friends that have stepped in to help me. Today I am filled with Gratitude and Hope. That is my Real.

Mark 1:40 “If You will to do so, You can Heal me.”